DeWitt: Israeli diplomat visits local Jewish Federation

Benjamin Krasna, a career diplomat who currently acts as Israel's deputy consul general, came to Syracuse last week to speak at the Syracuse Jewish Federation's (SJF) annual meeting. But this isn't his first time here. Krasna has made several stops over the years, said SJF Executive Vice President Richard Friedman, and when he makes a visit, multiple events are planned.

"This last time [Krasna] had business up here," Friedman said. "He was gracious enough to accept our invitation and come to our annual meeting."

The meeting was in part a celebration of not only 90 years of service to the Central New York community, but also a continuation of its community-wide celebration of Israel @ 60 -- a national birthday theme for the people's much beloved country.

Topics discussed?

Mostly political, Friedman said, including questions and conversation on Hamas and the expansion of building in East Jerusalem.

As deputy consul, Krasna's purpose is to basically help solidify the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community -- not from Washington D.C. as some might assume, but rather in the heart of the Big Apple where most consulates are based.

Additionally, meeting someone face to face is also a good way to learn the character of a man in such a high profile position.

"[Krasna] is a delightful human being, intelligent, quick to understand and to share good information," said Judith Stander, SJF program coordinator.

Periodic guest lectures and the knowledge gained from them, "help define who we are," Friedman said, who said it's all about community building.

Krasna has been a part of the Israeli Foreign Ministry since 1995.

His postings have included:

The Jordan Division at the time of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty

Deputy consul general in Istanbul, Turkey (1997 to 2000)

Embassy spokesman of the Embassy of Israel in The Hague, Netherlands (2000 to 2002)

Western European Division of the Ministry in Jerusalem specializing in the European Union (EU) and NATO (2002 to 2005)

Participation in numerous negotiations for the government of Israel including that of political coordinator for the Joint Action Plan between the European Union and Israel

Currently represents the state of Israel from the New York City Consulate as deputy consul general

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